Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone1Livingston0

St Johnstone 1-0 Livingston: Late Davidson goal wins it for hosts

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Highlights: St Johnstone 1-0 Livingston

St Johnstone kept their 11th clean sheet in 14 matches as they beat Livingston to move into fifth in the Scottish Premiership.

Murray Davidson's goal means the Perth side have lost just twice in 14 games since being thumped 6-0 by Celtic on October 7 and edge above Hearts.

There were precious few chances before Davidson tapped with 12 minutes left.

Both sides went close with free-kicks - Liam Craig for St Johnstone and Craig Halkett for Livingston.

Ryan Hardie also had a low drive saved by Zander Clark, but quality was at a premium.

The result means St Johnstone stretch their unbeaten run to four matches, while Livingston, who are without a victory since thumping Hearts 5-0 in mid December, remain seventh.

Davidson pounces to clinch drab affair

There was a certain level of surprise as Davidson struck what turned out to be the winner, such was the paucity of play for the previous 77 minutes.

The fact only Celtic and Rangers had conceded fewer league goals than Livingston this term, coupled with St Johnstone's incredible clean sheet record, meant this was never likely to be a high-scoring game.

It took 20 minutes for the first shot on target to arrive - there were plenty off - as Clark tipped returning Rangers loanee Hardie's effort wide.

Both sides are well capable of producing quality, but it was brutally lacking on the night. There was a fleeting moment of excitement as Craig's searching free-kick from 35 yards almost dipped in, but Liam Kelly was alert and pushed it over.

Clark did likewise to stop a similarly fizzing set-piece effort after the break from Halkett, who also glanced a header wide.

Then St Johnstone got their act together, and the goal came in typical fashion. Richard Foster dropped his shoulder on the right-wing and skipped past his marker into the box. His cross was met by Matty Kennedy but Kelly parried his header, only for Davidson to pounce from three yards.

'Perth defence brilliant again' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Jim Spence at McDiarmid Park

In the first half, St Johnstone looked to play up to Tony Watt and bring others into the game, while Livingston looked to feed the pacy Hardie.

The second half lacked any real pattern. Livingston had territorial supremacy, but lacked the creative nous to unpick a St Johnstone side for whom Jason Kerr was a defensive stand out.

Gary Holt's men saw plenty of the ball but the St Johnstone defence has become near-impenetrable since being blown away by Celtic three months ago.

It is the bedrock of Tommy Wright's revolution, and they continue to look upwards. But Livingston's Premiership honeymoon is now over, as they find themselves without a win in four league matches.

'We produced the one bit of quality' - reaction

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "We produced the one bit of quality in the game. From our point of view there were too many mistakes. I don't think we were good enough on the ball.

"To play not as well as we can and win, I think at this stage in the season it's really important and it's a vital three points for us."

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "If we could have had a wee bit of composure, a wee bit more bravery in the final third... we were in the ascendancy in the game.

"It's disappointing that someone gets a free header in your box and no one's tracking a runner and it's in your net and the game's done."

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19FosterBooked at 44mins
  • 15Kerr
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 3Tanser
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 90mins
  • 28CallachanSubstituted forKaneat 62'minutes
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 88mins
  • 26Craig
  • 32WattSubstituted forO'Halloranat 90'minutes
  • 33KennedySubstituted forAlstonat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Alston
  • 6Anderson
  • 9Kane
  • 11Swanson
  • 17O'Halloran
  • 23Gordon
  • 30Hurst

Livingston

  • 1Kelly
  • 4Lithgow
  • 26HalkettBooked at 30mins
  • 31Gallagher
  • 15LawlessSubstituted forWyldeat 73'minutes
  • 10Sibbald
  • 8PittmanBooked at 68minsSubstituted forTiffoneyat 80'minutes
  • 6Byrne
  • 3Lamie
  • 9Hardie
  • 19ErskineSubstituted forCaddenat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Brown
  • 11Cadden
  • 14Jacobs
  • 21Stewart
  • 22Tiffoney
  • 33Lawson
  • 39Wylde
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
1,946

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamLivingston
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home9
Away8
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 1, Livingston 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 1, Livingston 0.

Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ricki Lamie (Livingston).

Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Alan Lithgow (Livingston).

Foul by Blair Alston (St. Johnstone).

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Craig Halkett (Livingston).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Michael O'Halloran replaces Tony Watt.

Booking

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Declan Gallagher (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Liam Craig.

Booking

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Chris Erskine (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Hardie (Livingston).

Attempt blocked. Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Blair Alston replaces Matthew Kennedy.

Attempt missed. Nicky Cadden (Livingston) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by David Wotherspoon.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Scott Tiffoney replaces Scott Pittman.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Nicky Cadden replaces Chris Erskine.

Goal!

Goal! St. Johnstone 1, Livingston 0. Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Shaun Byrne (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Gregg Wylde replaces Steven Lawless.

Booking

Scott Pittman (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Scott Pittman (Livingston).

Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

Attempt missed. Craig Halkett (Livingston) header from the centre of the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Liam Craig.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Ross Callachan.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Zander Clark.

Attempt saved. Craig Halkett (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone).

Scott Pittman (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic21143450143645
2Kilmarnock22135434211344
3Rangers22126444182642
4Aberdeen22133637241342
5St Johnstone2111462624237
6Hearts2211382728-136
7Livingston228682620630
8Hibernian227873023729
9Motherwell2273122133-1224
10Hamilton2242161446-3214
11Dundee2234151747-3013
12St Mirren2233161543-2812
View full Scottish Premiership table

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